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Storm Gombe in Malawi vicinity

CATASTROPHIC— Tropical Storm Ana survivors prepare food at a camp in Chikwawa District

By Patience Lunda:

The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has said the newly developed Tropical Storm Gombe will intensify rainfall in the country once it reaches the Mozambique coast between Friday and Saturday this week.

The expected rainfall might exceed 100 millimetres in 24 hours in most areas in the Southern Region and, at the same time, moist Congo air mass will be drawn, thereby influencing weather in central and northern areas.

The department’s acting director Lucy Mtilatila told The Daily Times that there was a likelihood of flooding in areas where rainfall will be intense.

She, therefore, called on people that stay in flood-prone areas to move upland.

Mtilatila urged councils to ensure that their drainage systems are taken care of to avoid flash floods, further asking the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) to be alert during this time.

“The general public is being advised to be safe and those living in flood-prone areas are being advised to move [upland] so that they can be protected [from the negative effects] and we are informing all key stakeholders to be alert,” Mtilatila said.

As of Wednesday, the tropical storm was located about 500 kilometres from the Mozambique coast with a speed of 13 kilometres per hour and is intensifying along the way.

Some areas likely to receive rainfall include Mulanje, Nsanje, Chikwawa, Phalombe, Zomba and Salima.

This comes after the country experienced tropical storms Ana and Dumako, which killed over 30 people and displaced thousands others.

In January this year, Dodma formulated an Emergency Response Operations and Implementation Plan for the 2021-22 lean season food insecurity response programme which, among other things, included disaster risk reduction and mitigation interventions.

Dodma assistant spokesperson Chimwemwe Njoloma said the department was ready to assist Malawians in case of any emergencies as a result of the anticipated Tropical Storm Gombe.

She added that Dodma officials were still on the ground, where they were aiding those affected by Tropical Storm Ana.

“This is to say that the department is still in an activated mode with all its clusters on the ground and on full alert. As such, if anything does come up, we will respond accordingly as the DCCMS [Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services] also continues to closely monitor the cyclone,” Njoloma said.

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